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Vrabel permanent Inside Linebacker?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by RayClay, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Some may think I'm negative or obsessed with linebackers , but I'm not.

    Nor am I "worried" about our lack of depth at inside linebacker. I don't own stock in the team so it doesn't affect me, (although I do have this recurring nightmare of LaDainian Tomlinson ripping right through our defense over and over........

    It's just that the rest of the team looks great and the problems at WR are because of one idiot and his agent and should take care of themselves.

    Looks like they're patching the LB corps this year.

    Vrabel, Seau and Gardner look fine if healthy.

    All our promising youngsters are OLB so that position would look strong with Vrabel. Without him we're "hoping" our starters are ok.

    When Bruschi returns do we keep Vrable there and have Gardner and Seau as backups, letting TBC, Mincey and Woods/Alexander get some time?

    Or do we groom one of the OLB candidates as an ILB?

    We have zero youth at ILB as I don't think Roach makes it. (I'm disregarding Beisel because... It's my post and I can ignore him if I want.:D )

    Thoughts?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2006
  2. D-cleater

    D-cleater Rookie

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    I'm with you Ray Clay. I think a strong case can be made for Vrable to stay inside long term, providing Bruschi a solid running mate during his last few years and taking over play calling duties, helping out the youngsters. We simply need to get some youth at LB, and we have some at OLB. Get a rookie in next year to groom at ILB, and we may have the next generation Patriots LB by 2008.

    We just have to hope that we are not being overly optimistic about TBC, but I seriously think that after investing three years in the player, and considering his injuries last year.... its his time to step up and its the coaches time to rely on investment they've made in this player. Perhaps Mincey or Woods can provide some reliable backup before too long.

    If TBC continues to improve, I think we gain with Vrabel at ILB, regardless of the fact that he is a more natural OLB.
  3. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    No...I hope that is far from the case...There may be some OLB that can slowly learn the role of ILB...Do people remember how long it took TB to understand the inside slots?? It did not happen overnite...and/or 2 seasons.
    It takes time...there are some candidates...Biesel is still a possibility, but the fact that he's down past the 2nd stringers is NOT good...whether it is more injury or he doesn't get it and is tailing off..who knows. I would not count him out yet, although I think he has to get it soon..or he may be pink slipped..Gardner is also a possiility..he is a vet and I think is slowly understanding the 3-4...but again time. Learning the ILB roles takes time and patience..and few if anyunderstand it all quick fast...Roach is another who will take time..he may be injured and out.and if that is serious..IRed..a year to learn and look at film and slowly start to get it all. He may be a possible ILB..in the TJ role. I also think there may be others who in time MIGHT be able to ove inside...Alexander is a possibility and another might be Mincey..but again, it will take time a few years...and one has to be patient. I think everyone is full of panic..I think this year Vrabel stays outside...he is more effective there and with Junior inside..all will be OK. NO time for panic..
  4. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nasty things, I avoid them like the plague. :rolleyes:

    We need another run oriented team to test us again, unfortunately Washington isn't it with Portis hurt. Seau isn't any kind of thrill for me, if BB thinks he can help then well and good. I would rather see Vrabel inside right now so TBC can get the additional reps. Folks keyed on his pass rush, but I'll repeat myself and point out we already knew that, we were waiting for his pass coverage and run stopping skills to improve. Based on preseason, we have a pretty good looking OLB rotation developing. As of this moment, I'd keep Woods and move Mincey to the Practice Squad.

    ILB, I need to see Seau playing in our system to know what to expect. Gardener still isn't up to speed there, but I like him as the MLB when Pees throws his 4-3 curve ball. Roach needs to go to Practice Squad, I think he is a good futures' project. Alexander is making the argument to replace Izzo. I don't mind Vrabel inside, you can use Woods to rest TBC and Rosey if that happens. Beisel (ignore him if you wish ;) ) needs to be alongside Vrabel or Bruschi, maybe Seau if he fits well. He isn't ready to be a field leader and putting him alongside Roach or Alexander is trouble. I see the flashes of ability that Pees talks about, I see the improvement - I also note that unlike Vrabel, who learned OLB as a 4 year reserve in a 3-4 system, Monty was raised wrong, he's got a lot of unlearning to do and one year isn't enough - if BB keeps him, I expect it's because he has the "potential" to be a future Bruschi clone.

    ILB is our weak spot, but BB can always play the 'currant' strength of the team by using the 4-3 with Green and Wright in the mix. Patience, BB and Pees are growing ILBs. I see reason to be optimistic in the long term, a few lumps and bumps in the short term are survivable.
  5. D-cleater

    D-cleater Rookie

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    Good argument, Pats726, but I think it actually favors RC's and my position. The fact that it takes a while to learn the ILB spot is a clear case for the position to be manned by a solid player like Vrabel, who

    1) Already has almost a full *successful* season at the position ( started well into the season, but played there in the post season as well, IIR)
    2) Understands the defensive scheme as well or better than any player next to Bruschi.
    3) Has the physical and mental attributes required to be successful at the position
    4) Has a comfort level with Bruschi and the confidence of the rest of the team that he can get it done.
    5) We have more young depth at OLB. Plain and simple.

    Disclaimer: If Gardner continues to improve I may change my position :p

    Finally, everyone, can we please stop insisting that moving Vrabel to ILB is a "panic" move? Can we just leave that word out of the conversation? Panic is what happens when I'm stuck in rush hour traffic after a night of mexican food and beer. Panic happens when there there is no coffee in cupboard on sunday morning. Why does everyone who doesn't love Beisel or Don Davis have to be in "panic" mode, or labelled as a chicken little? Seems like an immature way to present an argument. Not directed at you Pats726, just something I've noticed a lot around here.
  6. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Ray Clay,

    Welcome to the club. I have been saying I am sanguine about the ILBs since Vrabel demonstrated last season two things;
    a) he could move in side and excel
    b) he could set the defense and call defensive signals.

    I know it is unfashionable right now to credit anything to Monty Beisel and Chad Brown and they are dinged, so they aren't playing, but both add depth. When Brown is available, he frees Vrabel to move inside and Beisel still gives us the the inside coverage LB that is needed, although Davis and Gardner might have something to say about that...
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2006
  7. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Vrabel is very good on the inside. The optimium situation is IF we can keep Vrabel on the outside. Ideally we can have a rotation of Bruschi, Seau and Gardner (?) inside (he seems to be coming on), with Alexander as the 4th guy. with Vrabel, Colvin and TBC on the outside with Woods/ Mincey as the developmental guys. Then the question is do we carry 10/11 LB's and are Izzo and Davis. Do C Brown and Beisel make the team?
  8. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Thanks but I'm not really totally in favor of the move, (and neither is Vrabel from what I hear), but it is the strongest lineup with current personnel.

    I'd like us to spend for a kickass ILB. Otherwise, a lineup of Vrabel and
    Bruschi with Gardner and Seau backing is our strongest.

    We weaken the OLB, but there's more possibilities there.

    You just can't win and be soft up the middle IMO.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2005
  9. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    I like your idea too. How about grooming Woods as ILB? He seems active and a hitter.

    We're in the position where we're robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    The best scenario to me is coaching up Gardner and Woods Alexander so we can have an adequate rotation when Bruschi returns.

    Then there's Beisel:confused: :rolleyes: :eek:

    I hope we don't have to keep Vrabel inside when Bru returns.

    But we need to do what's necessary. You can't win consistently while teams can run through the middle IMO. Bottom line.
  10. Zuma

    Zuma Rookie

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    Vrabel may have "graduated" to the inside. ILB is more difficult to play than OLB. This might be a trend in BB's system where the veteran OLB that has a very good knowledge of the system...moves inside. Vrabel is now working on his "Masters" by playing inside (just kidding..ie..masters). Colvin may do the same down the road as well.
  11. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Good point. I understand he's not too thrilled about it, but the media in this town tends to make stuff up too.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2006
  12. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Gardner has been a pleasant suprise so far IMO. ALexander is doing a good job on ST's and may endanger Izzo/Davis as a ST ace. I like what I see from Woods so far, don't know if he can play the middle? Roach, bound for the PS?

    I think Beisel is in real trouble given what we are seeing from the development of other players.

    Gardner and Vrabel looked good yesterday, but the Cards don't have a real good OL, we will lean more against the Wash or Giants first team. If Gardner keeps showing progress, and Bruschi is back for the opener (which he will be IMO cast and all).

    I wonder if Seau can play the disciplined style BB requires? He has freelanced his whole career. That doesn't work in our D. I think at this atage in his career he will accept that role.

    I'm feeling a lot better about the LB situation. Hopefully we will see more progress in the coming weeks.

    Are Woods and Mincey showing enough at OLB to consider letting C Brown go?

    The rest of camp is gonna be interesting.
  13. D-cleater

    D-cleater Rookie

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    Agree, agree, agree. Vrabel has graduated.

    Regarding the roster, I would rather take our chances with developmental guys on the bench or even on the field, than Beisel and Brown who have proved that they don't have what it takes.

    To me, the difference is... if a Mincey/Woods/Alexander or a Gardner/Seau is on the field, the proven vets on our defense know that they have to compensate in certain areas for having a rookie or an aging or unproven vet on the field next to them. And they have proven in the past that they do this well, from the D line to the secondary.

    This is a different dynamic than having a Beisel/Brown in there. Beisel/Brown would now be someone that should be expected to hold their own, and when they don't , it destroys the chemistry and the morale of the players on the field. I don't think its too far fetched to even consider Beisel as a cancer at this point.
  14. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think this is the future for Vrabel, may happen NEXT year, and will depend on the development of Woods/Mincey and TBC ability to assume a starting role (which I think TBC will do).

    I agree with your premise. Whether Vrabel move inside or not depends on Bruschi's health and Seau's contributions. I am getting comfortable with Gardner as part of the rotation inside as the 3rd guy.
  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wasn't that Woods creating the ST fumble? Seeing him working so hard is mighty intriguing. To me he, not Roach, was the big UDFA prospect. Some background, with apologies to everybody for whom this is old hat:

    Before the draft Woods was a "has to make football a priority" case -- a terrific athlete with a strong burst on the pass rush but who didn't refine his technique and improve enough during his college career.

    At Michigan he played both DE and, yes, 3-4 OLB along with a prominent role on special teams. Based on pure athletic potential he is a classic Pats OLB prospect. Measures at 6'4" 249 4.75 and most impressively a 4.19 shuttle and 6.97 3-cone. (That last pair of numbers blows away the likes of Kam Wimbley and even Manny Lawson.)

    Everybody likes how Mincey's progressing, but he's never played in space before and Woods seems to have the ST edge.
  16. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    I haven't seen anyone mention #54. With him in there, he helps out all the other players, including Biesel.

    When he gets back, there is an automatic upgrade in the ILB position. After that we can plug in Junior, Biesel, or Gardener and be OK.

    The key to the ILB position this year on this team is Tedy Bru, plain and simple.
  17. patsfan13

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    Alexander created the fumble, but Woods had a solid outing.
  18. Zuma

    Zuma Rookie

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    I think that's what it comes down to for starters in 3-4...

    OLB: TBC / Colvin
    ILB: Vrabel / Bruschi

    or

    OLB: Vrabel / Colvin
    ILB: Seau / Bruschi
  19. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Prior to his senior year, Pierre Woods was still fore casted for the draft with a projected late first or second/third round rating. He had a lousy Senior year and was given the "underachiever" and "uncoachable" labels. He even lost playing time. There is no doubt he had differences with the coaches.

    But in fairness the guys who played, are projected as first or second round draftees as well, in 2007.

    Sometimes it makes a difference whether you are playing for fun, or whether you are getting paid and trying to making a career of it.
  20. the taildragger

    the taildragger Rookie

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    well put. he can play anywhere he's needed at this point. The most versatile player on the most versatile defense in the league. I love him inside because of his hands and ball reaction...and it's not like we're taking the blitz away from him on the inside.

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